Garry Monk was starting his managerial stint at Leeds after a 13th place finished the year before under Steve Evans who left in the summer of 2016.
Monk was appointed On June 2, 2016, and was tasked with getting Leeds to mount a serious promotion charge.
There was plenty of transfer activity for the Whites ahead of the 2016/17 campaign.
Fans were happy with the appointment of Monk, and his transfer dealings were positive and supported with a warm response from the club’s support.
One signing that upped the stakes of fanfare and anticipation was the capture of former Valencia and Swansea midfielder Pablo Hernandez.
— Leeds United (@LUFC) August 2, 2016
On August 2, 2016, the Spaniard was unveiled after signing a six-month loan deal from Qatar Stars League side Al-Arabi.
The initial reaction to the signing was overwhelmingly positive.
this is a brilliant signing and things are looking up at the club, Cellino might be starting to turn the corner, so stop moaning
— Lachlan Wright (@Lachlan_Wright1) August 2, 2016
bienvenidos a Leeds United Pablo ! This guy should be the real deal that helps us to promotion !
— Mark P Makey (@markpmakey) August 2, 2016
got more class than Taylor cook and byram combined.
— Pete's Leeds???? ???????????????????? (@BadgeSmiley) August 2, 2016
WE'VE WON THE LEAGUE
— Oliver White (@OliWhiteMOT93) August 2, 2016
Hernandez lined up at Leeds with his former Swansea boss and was made to wait to make his debut for the Championship club.
Due to a paperwork issue from the Qatar FA, the Spaniard had to miss out on the club’s season opener against Queens Park Rangers.
Good job, too, as it ended in a 3-0 defeat, but he would make his debut in the League Cup a few days later.
During his six-month loan deal, the then 31-year-old managed 18 appearances and scored three goals.
And on January 9, 2017, the deal was made permanent.
— Leeds United (@LUFC) January 9, 2017
Hernandez signed an initial six-month contract with an option of a further year at the end of the 2016/17 campaign.
And the fans were overjoyed he had agreed on a permanent deal.
— Marco Ambrosio (@MarcoLuFc) January 9, 2017
— Joe Moore (@mooreyRN) January 9, 2017
— Alex Cass (@alexcasss) January 9, 2017
He appeared in his first match after the new agreement four days later, helping his team climb to third in the table after defeating Derby County 1–0 at home and being named the man of the match in the process.
The Spaniard was really starting to impress and eventually scored six goals and registered eight assists for Leeds as they narrowly missed out on the play-offs that season.
Finishing seventh and just three points off the top six, Hernandez’s influence was undeniable.
The omnipresent midfielder was forever at the heart of Leeds’ attacks and a vital cog in the machine that saw Leeds push for a place at the post-season promotion lottery all the way.
Despite the disappointment of missing out on the play-offs, Hernandez was retained, and the one-year extension was triggered.
His second season was just as impressive, and seemingly getting better with age, he managed nine goals and eight assists in 45 appearances.
It was mind-blowing as to how Hernandez was improving the older he was getting.
And despite flirting with the play-offs Leeds’ 2017/18 campaign ended in 13th place, making the Spaniard’s accomplishments even more impressive.
That season he was nominated for the club’s player of the year award and won it, along with the player’s player of the year award, too.
And on April 26, 2018, he signed a new two-year deal with his current one close to expiring.
✍ | #LUFC are pleased to announce that Pablo Hernandez has signed a new two-year contract at Elland Road
— Leeds United (@LUFC) April 26, 2018
That sent the Leeds fans into delirium at the prospect of a further two-years being able to watch the attacker grace the hallowed Elland Road turf.
Nah, I think I’ve checked every reply and I can’t find the usual negative comments. Must look harder!!! Great news. #lufc
— John R (@john606sc) April 26, 2018
My Hero… My Hernandez
— Laura Clifford (@Laura241987) April 26, 2018
Oh mate this tweet
— Beth (@BGF_lufc) April 26, 2018
Brilliant, worth his weight in gold on and off the pitch, love the myth that he is a luxury and doesn’t track back, no one works harder, hope he’s been told the plan MOT
— CMD (@mudballs63) April 26, 2018
This season under Marcelo Bielsa, Hernandez has played a starring role and been one of the most important players at the club, scoring four goals and getting four assists in just nine appearances.
The initial reaction was positive, but not a single Leeds supporter could have fathomed the move would have gone this well.
The Spaniard is a firm favourite amongst the club’s supporters, and he seems to be getting better with age.
It was a signing that pleased many and it has been one of the club’s better signings in recent years.